The Nigerian Army has described, as untrue, media reports saying it has decided to withdraw troops from Exercise Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II) across the five states of the South-East. The reports, it said, falsely quoted the Abia State governor, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army as having provided the information on which they were based.
In a statement signed by Brigadier-General SK Usman, the Army called on the general public to treat the reports as an unfounded rumor.
"For the avoidance of doubt, the Abia State Governor in his speech stated that 'there will be a gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow'. This should not be misconstrued as withdrawing of troops earmarked for Exercise Egwu Eke II. The General Officer Commanding 82 Division has not said such thing," explained the Army.
It further reiterated that Exercise Egwu Eke II will start on Saturday as previously scheduled, adding that Army commanders have been instructed to ensure that the exercise commences and is completed. "We wish to state further that the successful completion of the exercise will dovetail into the various states security outfits till the end of this year," the Army said.
The Army called on members of the public, especially in areas the operation is scheduled to hold, to carry out their lawful businesses. The Army also warned that it will not allow individuals or groups to impede the smooth running of the exercise through unlawful activities.
"Hoodlums and criminal elements are once again warned to be law-abiding and not cause any breach of peace. We hereby reiterate that our troops will conduct themselves in the best professional manner, abide by the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct in line with requirements of the Constitution. Any act of indiscipline by any of our personnel will be decisively dealt with. The Nigerian Army urges all to support the troops as they carry out their constitutional duties and make Exercise Egwu Eke II a success," the Army stated.